Sat, May 18, 2019 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

HK losing civil liberties

I am writing in response to a Taipei Times article (“HK lawmakers brawl over extradition law,” May 12, page 1). I would like to express my resentment against Beijing’s increasing political and legal intervention in Hong Kong.

I used to argue that Beijing’s breach of the “one country, two systems” principle cast doubt on whether democracy and political freedom within Hong Kong “may be” fading.

Yet, as Beijing has expedited its involvement in Hong Kong’s legal and political framework in recent years, I have learned that civil liberties are “affirmatively” being lost in my city.

My resentment is primarily based on two points:

First, Beijing has reneged on Hong Kong’s sovereign rights — the enjoyment of social, legal and political independence and freedom — as stated in the Hong Kong Basic Law.

As a result, Hong Kong citizens, myself included, are increasingly stripped off the entitlement to democracy.

An arguably most salient example would be Beijing’s continual denial of our right to universal suffrage, barring local citizens’ from selecting chief executives of our own.

Such a denial links to my second point of resentment with respect to the bill on expanding the current extradition law.

Once the bill is passed, the extradition of Hong Kong-based political criminals to mainland China will be legitimized, prompting an aggravation of political persecution against anti-Beijing camps in the city.

In 2015 and last year, the infamous “bookstore incidents” — where mainland Chinese authorities illegally arrested and detained five owners and managers of a Hong Kong’s publishing house known for selling books critical of the community leadership of the People’s Republic of China — demonstrated Beijing’s indifference to our sovereignty.

If the extradition law is amended, many, if not most, Hong Kong citizens with opposing political views will be persecuted by Beijing.

From an individual perspective, such a legal reform will jeopardize Hong Kong citizens’ safety. From a societal perspective, Hong Kong’s political independence and diversity will fade in a swifter fashion, and ultimately be ruled out before 2047.

Our citizens have been witnessing Hong Kong’s degradation from an autonomous to A semi-autonomous territory. My hometown used to enjoy a high level of civil liberties and human rights, yet civil, legal and political insecurity has been growing significantly.

If the reform of the current extradition law is passed, our civil future might no longer be foreseeable.

Jason Hung

London

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